It is not my proudest moment, but I have come to realize that over the past 6-8 years I have gone on 4 diets where I have needed to lose a significant amount of weight. Each time, I have attempted and succeeded in losing over 30 pounds. If you do the math on that I have essentially lost a 4th grader. I am proud of the hard work I have put in, but its not like I went from one weight and then am now 120 pounds lighter. I have lost the same 30ish pounds and keep going between a fighting weight of 225 and 175. This has gotten old and really needs to stop. Not only is it annoying to be going through this whole thing again and again, I am also told it is unhealthy. I am sure that is true. As I am in my 4th time of snacking on ice chips and air, allow me to share a few things I hope will help it stick a bit more than the last times:
I eat to make myself feel good: When I am stressed I eat. When I am tired I eat. When I need to stay awake I eat. When I am bored I eat. When it is Boxing Day in Canada I eat. Thankfully I am out of Master’s Degree program, which forced me to stay awake till all hours of the day. It created unwanted stress in my life. I am hoping that going to bed on time and taking this significant life event out will help. That being said, I know I will have future ups and downs so my hope is to put something like exercise or cat tossing in food’s place.
I need to treat myself: I need to find a better way to eat the things I enjoy rather than doing it all the time. The last time I fought from 225 pounds and got all the way down to 184, I literally stopped working out and started eating horribly all in one day, not looking back until 2 months ago. I know people that allow a cheat day or one meal or when they are out with friends. My problem is I had a cheat year. I think that was too long.
I don’t have goals: Each time I have lost my weight I had a goal. Once was a contest, once was my doctor and my cholesterol, and once I was poor and couldn’t fit into my clothes and couldn’t afford to buy new ones. I came across this video on Mark Oestricher’s blog that is from NPR. It gives a bit of a reason for why we end up where we start when we don’t know where we are going.
I don’t think goals are a bad thing, it gives me something to shoot for. I just need different goals after I hit my weight/diet goals. Run a tri-athlon. Be able to do 20 one-armed push ups. Doesn’t really matter, but something that I can aim for, and keep me healthy. If you don’t have the end in mind then it is tough to aim for anything.
It has to be fun: The gym is great, but grows old after a while. For me and my personality make up I need to do different things that I enjoy to keep me healthy. I am excited that as seasons go, my family is moving out of the new baby season and into a season where my kids want to move and do stuff. I have discovered new born babies don’t want to ride many bikes, and my wife can’t really jog after a C-section. My hope is that day hikes will happen. Bike rides will happen. Life will happen, but it will be on the move a bit more.
I write this to share what I have learned but also as a bit of a confession, so I am not back here in a year, kicking myself for the same reasons. I believe it can happen. What does it take for you to make a significant life change and make it stick?